According to Visa, in the last quarter of 2011 a third of cardholders paid remotely for food. The 2012 Olympic Games is expected to give a further boost to the contactless payments system.
The release of new technology in McDonald’s across the UK has encouraged an increase in contactless payments for fast food. According to the figures which were collated by Visa, the third of cardholders using the system to pay for food in the last three months of 2011 compares to 12% the previous quarter.
Like Oysters that are used on the London Underground, the contactless system allows users to scan their credit card over a special terminal, to pay for things up to £15. The aim of the system is to shorten queues in popular retailers, to lessen the time it takes to pay for items.
Even though contactless payments have now been available for two years in the UK, and there are 75,000 terminals and 17m cards, Visa acknowledges a low acceptance level by retailers is still preventing usage from becoming an every-day routine.
Mastercard surveyed usage in Europe last autumn, which showed that only 5% of British consumers had made a contactless payment. It was only France that came lower at 4%. Visa has refused to show figures for the total number of contactless payments.
Head of contactless for Visa Europe, Mark Austin, believes that the turning point for many cardholders will be when the Olympics take place. He said, “People with experience of contactless cards are starting to see it as the first step to the arrival of mobile payments. The more chance consumers have to use their contactless cards, the more enthusiastic their response becomes.
“For us, London 2012 will be a major tipping point with thousands of new contactless terminals installed across the Olympic venues to make payments as easy and convenient as they can possibly be.”
Other retailers who offer the contactless system include Eat, Pret a Manger, Clinton Cards, Little Chef, Burger King, Cafe Nero, Subway and selected outlets of Boots. Starbucks, the Co-op and Wilkinson will be offering the service soon, as well as other popular fast food restaurants, once they have acquired commercial restaurant insurance to cover the new technology and potentially any fraud that could come along with contactless payments.
73% of the 500 cardholders questioned in the UK believed that contactless technology would in the end, become a more popular way to pay with case, according to the Visa research.